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Female Founders: Samantha Bessudo Drucker On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Bessudo Drucker.

Lifestyle “genie,” Samantha Bessudo Drucker is co-host of Love & Design Project and Sexy is Timeless Talks. She is also the author of “90 Days to Husband №2!” a dating system based on a proven technique. Samantha is an image consultant, journalist, host, and actress who has appeared in numerous TV shows and publications. www.socialimage.net She is known for her savior-faire for just about anything.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My mother always said, ”Be the best or don’t bother.” Another one of her hits was “Only results count.”

I’ve been obsessed with self-development and self-improvement from a very young age. As a competitive ballroom dancer, I understood that the winning edge is always an elusive 10% that we’re always striving to obtain. For many of my clients, all that’s needed is the extra 10% winning edge to be triumphant at whatever it is they want in life. That extra edge is what takes most of the work. It’s where the magic happens. I’m honored to have been able to give that to so many people.

For my clients who came to me to help them find love who are all now successfully married with families, that is where I honed my “10 Rules to Find Him.” Many of my clients were men, adorable “nerds” turned captains of industry, who begged for my help for social finesse, and of course, getting the gal. That gave me a rare window into the minds of men. A decade later, a story and a dare gave birth to a series of articles that led the way to “90 Days to Husband №2! 10 Rules to Find Him.”

Bottom line, when we are the best version of ourselves, we are the happiest and have the most success. I want to live in an abundant world full of happy people, all living as the best version of ourselves.

When I started my company Polished Social Image Consultants in 2000, the grumpy old man in charge of giving out business loans to women-owned startups, denied me because he said he didn’t “get it.” I took one look at him and thought, “of course not, how could he?” He was a grumpy sloppy mess. POLISHED was born with a hundred dollars to my name without a grant or loan. Twenty years later, I’m still here, now dispensing advice on FaceTime or Zoom through the “Ask Sam” portal on my website.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

It’s been an adventure beyond my imagination. I’ve consulted for two royal families, had celebrity clients, been procured for panels, programs, and positions/contracts that I never imagined. The journey has been extraordinary. I consulted for the Miss Universe organization. I was never tall or skinny enough to do the pageant circuit nor were my parents supportive of that kind of thing, but it’s amazing how things come full circle. It’s all about the intensity of your intension.Tell the universe what you want, it will respond! Even if it takes a few decades.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the first bachelor pads I ever worked on was a really lovely client on Central Park West who wanted a total life-tweak makeover, which included finding a life partner. I was redecorating his bachelor pad to make it sexier so we ordered a new bed. But I did not measure the size of the door of his New York City apartment — a rookie mistake! We had to take the whole bed apart. But I got lucky and the client had a sense of humor.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

All of my clients have unknowingly helped me along the way. The bigger the ask, the bigger the challenge. The toughest clients were in many ways my favorites, from them I had to flex my genie muscles. They showed me how much magic I was capable of.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Sometimes we hold ourselves back. Sure, there are men out there still trying to hold women back, and women have the additional challenge of balancing their careers with the biological parameters of their reproductive years. But if you want something hard enough, you’ll make the necessary sacrifices; escape if necessary, and find your way forward. Anything that’s worth having requires effort to attain, whether it’s a beautiful home, six-pack abs, or love.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

I think that the world has come a long way, but we can do better. Once again, it’s self-improvement. I think women need to be supportive of other women. I think that TV and film need to continue their evolution in portraying women in positions of influence, affluence, and power. I think it’s important for young girls to see limitless examples of what they can be when they grow up: astronaut, banker, scientist, lawyer, journalist, pro wrestler, soldier, ballerina, actress, whatever they want! I feel there should be more assistance at school by encouraging young girls to pursue whatever it is that interests them, be it math and science, or art and literature. I also like the idea of women-owned and operated cooperatives that are set up through foundations to support women’s empowerment.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Why not? As a global population, we’re about 2:1, therefore I believe that the female population would respond well to women-owned businesses because we share perspectives that men don’t possess. We have a different viewpoint that two-thirds of the worlds population can innately respond to. More female founders mean more female employment opportunities.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?

It requires a dream, a vision, a leap of faith, and bravery, which means there’s going to be a lot of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and determination. There are moments that can be unnerving especially in the beginning and failures. But the key is to learn from every challenge and to keep evolving until you achieve what you want.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder, and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Not everybody is cut out to be a leader or a founder, and that’s okay. Some people prefer and are more comfortable lending their talents in a supportive role, which is great. I am thankful for all the assistants I’ve worked with along the way. Being a founder is an enormous undertaking and responsibility. It can be tough. What traits help? Being a natural-born leader, naturally curious, and proactive. It’s good to be gregarious and motivated, and being organized and having optimal time management skills are a plus so you can be strategic about juggling and multitasking. Most of all, you need passion because if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll never feel like you’re working.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. I wish someone had told me how much money I would need to invest in my company.

2. How to create a business plan. I never really had a business plan per se, nor did I understand project planning on a large scale to launch a company by breaking down projects into small steps. When I started, all I had was an idea, a dream, and the conviction it would work. I truly did not know where to start. So I decided to start out with a letter, my concept, a brochure, and a business card. I tracked down the name of every editor and producer in town and sent it to all the local press and simply introduced myself as a new business and a new concept in town. I think it’s important that you make yourself different and better than your competition. If not, you’re wasting your time. I literally licked stamps and sent those letters off by snail mail on beautiful stationery. My brochure and business card were beautiful and expensive to produce but made a fantastic first impression. I got press which got me more press, which led to press on television and all this buzz led to clients.

3. I wish somebody had told me that I was committing myself to frequent 16 hour days, nights, weekends, never again truly having free time because there’s always something to do. I relish the summer and holidays that traditionally have businesses slowing down for a moment. That’s when I play catch up, that’s when I plant seeds. That’s when I try to tackle all the items on the to-do list that I can never get done. When It’s slow, that is the time to work harder.

4. If you don’t love to work, founding anything is not for you. Some people prefer delineation between company time and their own. If you want to clock out at 5 or 6 and leave your work life at your desk, I can understand that. But I needed to be the commander of my own destiny. I needed to play by my own rules. I needed the adventure of the journey. I wanted success more than anything. I wanted to contribute and make my mark. In my way, I feel like I’ve done that, but I have so much more to do. I’m just warmed up now.

5. Did I tell you that I wish someone told me I’d never had free time again? Truly there’s always something to do, that’s why you need to love and be passionate about what you’re doing.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

People who feel good about themselves and are comfortable in their skin create the world I want to live in. I plant and nurture seeds on living their best lives and being the best versions of themselves.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I think the name of my company said it all, “Polished.” To me, that symbolizes not only the refined, finished product of a person or thing but the act of polishing required to keep something at its best, and always aspiring towards improvement — not just in one area but who we are, and everything we do. It’s hard to bring our A-game every day, but it’s something to aspire to, along with the concept of striving to be, and do our best! Not all days will be perfect, perfection is unattainable. There are always obstacles, but we have to try. That’s the game.

Imagine a world where everything is beautiful. Every building, every dwelling, every meal, every behavior, everything is done with care, consciousness, style, and graciousness from the most humble to the most elaborate. All of us strive to do our best every single day with what we have. Imagine what that kind of mindset would do for the planet. Imagine how much happier we would all be with self-pride, self-fulfillment, self-actualization, self-awareness, social graces, and especially good manners. I may sound like I’m ranting but I’ve always felt that one must take a holistic approach to self-improvement. For example, if you’re a terrible person with bad taste, I can clean you up, dress you, redo your apartment or office — I can even teach you how to be polite, but you will still be a terrible person. You have to want to change, you have to want to be better. Additionally, when a person comes to me because they don’t completely feel comfortable in their skin or they’re trying to reach a certain goal, addressing one little piece of the problem is not going to solve it. It requires an all-out campaign. In every aspect of a person’s life for them to become their best self. Even if I live alone in a studio apartment, the energy is going to feel different if I make my bed in the morning, get dressed, and sit straight even if it’s just me all alone. And instead of eating fast food garbage, I make myself a nourishing meal. It’s a mindset; have some respect for your own self. Nourish yourself. If you can’t do that, no one else can.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I’d love to meet with producers @Bravo and other lifestyle networks. My dream is to host my own show where I can make a bigger impact by being able to connect with a larger audience.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.